Billy Walsh keen to remain head coach of Irish boxing
World champion Conlan hails Walsh as a ‘fantastic man’ who’s great at what he does
Billy Walsh at the World Championships in Doha where Ireland claimed a record haul of three medals: The head coach has said if he wasn’t keen on staying he would have been gone by now. Photograph: Francis Myers/Inpho
Billy Walsh has insisted he is keen to stay put as head coach of Irish boxing’s High Performance Unit, while World champion Michael Conlan wants to see the coach’s future resolved.
Team Ireland arrived home to Dublin Airport on Friday night after claiming a record haul of three medals at the World Championships in Doha, including an historic first-ever gold medal for an Irishman claimed by Belfast bantamweight Conlan.
With Moate light-heavyweight Joe Ward securing silver and Portlaoise middleweight Michael O’Reilly picking up bronze, Ireland finished fourth on the medals table, surpassing the country’s previous best of two medals claimed at the 2013 Worlds.
Attention will now turn to the future of head coach Walsh, who was recently linked to a vacancy in the US where he is understood to be a target to coach the American women’s team.
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“Look at what he’s done [at the Worlds] , why would you let him go? He’s great at what he does and he’s a fantastic man to have,” said Irish team captain Conlan, who claimed the country’s first gold in the 41-year history of the men’s Worlds.
Conlan, Ward and Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes are all qualified for the Rio Olympic Games next year and when asked if he expects to still be coaching the team by that time, Walsh attempted to deflect attention back on to the decorated Worlds team. “At the moment I was really just focusing on these guys, we came [to Doha] to get this job done,” he said.
When pressed as to whether he would like to stay on in his current role, Walsh said: “I’m eight months negotiating, if I wasn’t [keen to stay in Ireland], I’d have been gone long ago.”